Role of CCTV Surveillance in City Security

CCTV surveillance and monitoring has become a key tool in the armoury of polices forces and security services in their battle to fight crime and to manage public order events more effectively. CCTV systems can bring benefits for local communities through a variety of initiatives.

CCTV Surveillance:

  • Acts as a deterrent to crime.
  • Provides a potential opportunity to aid in the investigation and follow up of criminal activities.
  • Enhances the capacity to increase surveillance around the city.
  • Enhances public perception of safety.
  • Aids in surveillance of traffic and parking activities.
  • Helps to protect critical infrastructure and assets.
  • Provides opportunity for surveillance of emergencies in particular events.

More and more cities around the world are implementing CCTV surveillance systems as part of Safe City initiatives. However, there a number of key parameters that needs to be borne in mind:

  • CCTV surveillance needs to be a part of an overall security strategy for the City.
  • The locations for CCTV surveillance cameras should be based on operational needs that may include crime hotspots, public order events, iconic locations and places of interest.
  • The CCTV coverage for each identified location, types of cameras and connectivity need to designed with operational objectives and outcomes in mind.
  • CCTV needs to be much more than a passive monitoring system. Active video analytics, such as intrusion detection, abandoned object detection, facial recognition etc. need to designed as part of the overall solution to ensure that the desired outcomes can be realised.
  • Images quality needs to allow for effective real-time monitoring and post event analysis.  Evidential quality images can make a major contribution to both detection and successful prosecution.
  • The surveillance system is only effective if there are trained staff who are able to identify patterns and situations and are able to deploy effective response to any developing event.
  • It is critical that effective response resources are available that can be deployed quickly and efficiently to any incidents. This provides the major deterrent for criminal and terrorists.

There is no doubt that a well-designed city surveillance system can help improve the security situation significantly by creating a safer environment for the citizens as well as businesses. However, it should be designed and deployed as part of an overall security and policing solution. The design and functionality should be based on the outcomes required and on the context of the local environment.

By Dr. Amanat Hussain, Chief Operating Officer, BGS Ltd.